C/O Postmaster – Book Review

Thomas “Ozzie” St. George, a student in the School of Journalism, University of Minnesota, and an athlete, would find himself soon in the U.S. Army as his country entered WWII.  BUT – This is not a war, combat blood ‘n’ guts diary.

St. George sent excerpts of his training, his not-so-glamorous voyage across the Pacific and the year he spent in Australia discovering a new culture, to the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’.

Cpl. St. George numbered his pieces, knowing full-well the difficult route they would travel to get back to the U.S.  These pieces would arrive at the newspaper, with his sketches completely out of order, but the Chronicle printed them and the readers loved them.  One does not even need to “read between the lines” to visualize what this G.I. was trying to say as he learned about fish & chips, unusual pub hours, Australian slang and living a military life.

Dancing with Americans

“Ozzie” and his fellow G.I.s needed to learn the odd hours of the local pubs.  The Australian women were friendly, but not “easy”, as they used to say back then.  Families often invited the soldiers to dinner.  This was an entirely different world than the Americans were accustom – and learn quickly they would have to do!

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As seen with the Army cooks on page 55:

“…we went to breakfast.  Most of us, I’m afraid, were looking forward to large helpings of ham and eggs, our usual reward for a night’s activity.  Instead we had coffee made with chicory (a course kind of gravel) and our first lesson in the anatomy of the sheep, as found in mutton stew.  Thick was this stew, like cold glue, full of unidentifiable vegetables and with all the delicious appeal of a soggy snowbank.”

American G.I.’s w/ koalas

 Should be lucky enough to locate a copy of this book, I know there are chapters you will nod your head in agreement with St. George and you’ll laugh at others.  The sketches will amuse you – no matter what the content.

 

In the words of Corporal Thomas St. George ….

“With most of us, this army career is by far the greatest experience we will ever have.  I only hope that in reading about a few of these experiences you get half the kick out of it that we got when they were happening to us…”

Thomas ‘Ozzie’ St. George

From his obituary:

Thomas Richard “Ozzie” St. George left this earth on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at the age of 94.  Originally with the 32nd Infantry, he soon joined the staff of Yank Magazine and covered the war from Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. While serving in the army, he met his future wife, Staff Sgt. Amelia “Mimi” Vitali of Philadelphia. They married while in the Philippines.

He spent the next 50 years at newspapers in San Diego, Philadelphia, Rochester and St. Paul. He was a reporter, sports editor, cartoonist, copy editor and columnist (“Slice of Wry” – St. Paul Pioneer Press). Ozzie retired from the Pioneer Press in 1994. Two books were written by Ozzie while he was in the Army: “C/O Postmaster,” a Book of the Month Club selection, and “Proceed Without Delay.” Following his retirement, he also self-published the Eddie Devlin Compendium: “Old Tim’s Estate,” “Wildcat Strike,” “The Bloody Wet,” “Bringing Chesty Home,” “Replevy for a Flute,” “Clyde Strikes Back,” “Flacks,” “Deadlines” and “The Survivors.”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Political Cartoons – 

“HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”

“GET YOUR DIRTY PAWS OFFA THERE!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth “Kage” Allen – UT; US Air Force, 1st Lt., Air Academy graduate, F-15C pilot, 493rd Fighter Squadron/48th Fighter Wing

Wilton Brown – Avant, MS; US Navy, USS Princeton, / US Air Force, Korea, MSgt. (Ret.)

Wallace Harrelson (100) – Galloway, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Eva Lyons – Scottsdale, AZ; Civilian, WWII, P-38 assembler

Angus McRonald – Petercutter, SCOT, RAF, WWII

Russell Mericle Jr. – Lima, OH; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Colonel, West Point graduate

William “Bill” Okamoto (100) – Torrance, CA; US Army, WWII

William Ostrosky – Uniondale, NY; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Pauro – Audubon, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO/PTO, Purple Heart

Thomas D. Siefke (100) – Indianapolis, IN; USMC, WWII, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 18, 2020, in Book Reviews, First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 132 Comments.

  1. if u love to read book !
    then check my book review of great book writen by shakespeare .
    https://wfibsblogging.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/book-review-as-you-like-it/
    like , share , reblog , follow us if u consider .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like an amazing book..thanks so much for the fantastic review that sparked my interest 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok, you just talked me into it. Ordered from Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so pleased this man had such a long and happy life with Mimi. I love the photo of the GIs with the koala bears.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks to the links to some great reading I envisage gp, cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this. It really sad that so many of the wonderful people who got us through the war against fascism are no longer with us. So many fascinating souls.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Given that my dad was stationed in Australia during WWII, he would have loved this book!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You have such a remarkable breadth of knowledge, GP. Hope you had a great Father’s Day! I’m always learning something new.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the introduction to Thomas St. George, GP! His book sounds like an interesting historical read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your blog is popular, and deservingly so. It is fantastic that we can pay tribute to these heroes through your site! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like a great book! Maybe I can get to it. Wish there was a Time Fairy to add more hours to the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a delightful read!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the information, I´ll buy this one out of Amazon would be my guess, now Amazon is the way to go. Very interesting history as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t sure how people in Europe got their books. We’re lucky here to have places like Thriftbooks, so cheap and reliable. I find Amazon often too expensive. I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of the book though, Priest, if you find it.

      Like

  14. I Googled the book Found it on Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So many books, so little time!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. This guy had a wonderful sense of humor, judging by the excerpts. Thank you for sharing, GP.
    As to payphones, I hear there are still some in Russia and other former Soviet republics. They are called taxophones. We’ve seen them briefly in documentaries; they look cute and modern.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank you for the recommendation and the review, GP! First hand information is always the best. May he rest in peace. Indeed, we can be thankful for this book. Enjoy your weekend. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks for sharing, GP, I know I’ve seen those drawings, somewhere, before.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Sounds a really good book and a pleasant change from reading about conflict and death. Abebooks.com has lots of copies and many of them date from 1943 and 1944, Don’t be afraid about copies “with inscription” inside. Some of them can be really fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I usually use Abe after Thriftbooks mainly because their shipping charges are sometimes more expensive than the book. But Thriftbooks has sold quite a few copies this week, it’s good to have a backup supplier if they run out.

      Like

  20. Nothing like an on the scene story to help us understand what was really happening in the war zones.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sounds wonderful! A different kind of book about the war. I wish there are more hours in the day for me to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Thanks for this introduction. This is a book I think I want to add to my list.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. This is wonderful! I’d love to find and read any thing by “Ozzie”! His writings of his personal account/experiences AND his sketches…so great! Thank you for introducing him to us! 🙂 What a legacy he left for generations to come.
    My oldest son is a journalist, writer, editor…I need to see if he’s heard of “Ozzie”. 🙂 If he hasn’t, I know he’d like to read about him and read his writings.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PS…How are you, and all of your loved ones, doing, GP?!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. His description of chicory as ‘gravel’ made me laugh. He seems to be in the tradition of some of those great old newspaper columnists, like Mike Royko and Herb Caen in San Francisco. There’s an immediacy to his writing that’s pleasing as can be — thanks for the introduction!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thanks for the information on this book. My mother’s side of the family has a lively contingent in Australia. They are wonderful folks and during the Viet Nam war my nephew did some R&R there and had a wonderful time. The people were all so friendly and gracious.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. GP! Had obtained that book when I was MUCH younger, lost it in a move, and recovered another copy a while ago.
    I’d never been able to find out whether he had survived the war, till you posted this. Many thanks. “X”

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I always enjoyed reading his column in St Paul. This book sounds like a must read.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. That looks good fun, but non left at thriftbooks 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I have this book somewhere in my collection. Eee gad! Whadda mess.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. What an interesting concept.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Such a good legacy to leave behind. And his drawings must have given a lot of joy to those back home too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Great review and sounds like an amazing read. I love the pictures. Sounds like he had quite the full life. Sounds like a character too. I love the pictures of the three soldiers with the little pandas. Thanks for this great review. Sending love to you and yours from NC. 🌸🌺❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  33. I love this post, GP! It’s wonderful to see the photo of the “well loved” book. Yes indeed, anyone would be lucky to have a copy. What a terrific biography he had too. Thank you for sharing this. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. When the frontiers open again I’ll ask friends to mule down a copy. I’ll just bet that mutton stew was a ‘revelation’!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I find his insight to WW2 to be beneficial, intersting, and entertaining. The war was so heavy. This would be a welcome alternative.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Those sketches must have gone down well

    Liked by 2 people

  37. I love that book! One of my granddads had a small shelf of books from those years, Ernie Pyle, William Shirer, James Thurber, etc. and it included C/O Postmaster, and although he wasn’t stationed in Australia, he got a huge kick out of it. He remembered the mutton stew on the ship going to Japan in 1945 – – it smelled like a glue factory.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I love this book review GP. Now I just gotta find the book.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. What a clever idea – to send these letters to the newspaper. No wonder it became a highlight for the readers. I’m going to have to try to find a copy – what a fun addition to my book collection!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was such a pleasant change from the “blood & guts”. I always use Thriftbooks. I find them affordable and reliable.
      https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/co-postmaster/8240329/#isbn=B0007EZAJA&idiq=37290102

      Like

      • Well, he was studying journalism so clearly it was his niche but yes, you don’t think about the normal stuff that happens- everyday life. The experience of new cultures, new foods, new experiences. And of course all before the internet so this type of “reliving” of the experience wasn’t readily available. I mean, there was no Travel Channel, no blogs (*gasp*) – it was a completely different world. It’s kind of hard to step outside of how we experience the world today and put this kind of thing into perspective. I’m just thankful for writers, and for the written word. So many things kept alive because of it.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I completely agree. (but I have an advantage, I remember living without cell phone, internet, etc.)

          Liked by 2 people

          • I have the same advantage. I saw a pay phone the other day and got all excited about it. I grabbed some quarters and was like “ok, you have got to experience this!” My kids thought I’d gone nuts. Sadly the line was dead. 😢. I would love to know if there is one somewhere that actually works.
            My car used to break down and I would have to walk to wherever, find a pay phone, and call my parents to rescue me. How in the world did we survive?
            Still it’s like that was another lifetime.
            Oh and I meant to say thanks for the link!

            Liked by 1 person

  40. Thank you for sharing this book review. It really was an unusual outlook of the war and training.

    Like

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